Since their inception on Twitter in 2007, hashtags have become social media's industry standard when it comes to organizing posts thematically. But, what is a hashtag? And how do you use it? The answers are surprisingly simple, and learning the art of the hashtag is not as mysterious as you might think.

What the #hashtag?!
Hash·tag [hash-tag] noun 1. A keyword or phrase used in social media that is preceded by the pound sign (#) that is written without spaces between words, and creates a dynamic link back to posts of similar content, e.g., #SeniorPetCare

While it's commonly accepted to think that the pound/number sign (#) itself is a hashtag, it's really not. Without the associated content, it's just a symbol. That being said, it's not uncommon to find that most Millenials (or almost anyone under the age of 50) are now calling the (#) a "hashtag."

Anatomy of a #hashtag
Before your start hashtagging away, there are a few main points to keep in mind about the hashtag:

  • Spaces are not allowed between words
  • If you want to differentiate between words, use capital letters; the phrase will work the same regardless, e.g., #PetCare = #petcare
  • Punctuation is not allowed at all
  • Numbers are allowed (#Top10Pets)

Hashtags are currently supported on every major social media platform, and essentially function in the same way no matter where you are posting. It's commonplace to see hashtags on the following sites:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr

Hashtags can be a great way to link people and posts together that are sharing an experience. Not every post needs a hashtag, and indeed over hashtagging is generally frowned upon in the social media community, so choose your hashtags wisely.

Here are some common examples of where hashtags are appropriate:




Like all things related to social media, there is an etiquette that goes along with using hashtags that should be followed. Heed the following when using hashtags in your posts on all platforms:

Events (#AAHA2014)
Community Issues (#ElkCreekFire)
Specific Themes (#PetFirstAid)
Contests (#SuperBowlSuperPets)
Humor (#CrazyCatLady)
Spelling Counts (#ToTooTwo)


"Great to see so many friendly faces at the @Dumb Friends League #FurryScurry2014!"

"The Ketchum Humane Society is working to evacuate all pets in the area, contact @IdahoMountainVC for details. #ElkCreekFire #PetRescue"

#Do #Not #Tag #Every #Word
Don't tag without a purpose
Don't "spam tag" i.e., your post should be about what you're tagging
Don't over tag! 1-3 tags per post, depending on topic and length of tag


"Who is your favorite #celebrity #pets on #television? #ScoobyDoo #Lassie #Garfield #MrPeabody #PetsAreCool #WhatsYourFavoritePet #EverythingIsAwesome #TBT

For more information on hashtags, or to find our how Beyond Indigo can help you with your digital marketing journey, please check out our website.

Thanks to Kate Matthews, Beyond Indigo's social media marketing manager, for writing this piece.





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